Monday, March 23, 2009

Workboxes are Awesome!

I stumbled across the idea of workboxes weekend before last while cruising some of the homeschool message boards. Check out the concept on Leslie's blog here and on the official website here.  As you can see from that information, workboxes are a great system to manage time with multiple students and promote independent work in all ages.

While it won't be long before encouraging independence is something we want to do, at first I thought that workboxes might be too rigid of a system to work well for us. The moms on the homeschooling forums were so excited I was drawn into the threads, and the phrase that kept catching my attention was that the system kept THEM accountable and allowed them to be more organized. That really resonated with me. I have long been a planner of great plans, but have often fallen short on execution. I can do a set of lesson plans the beginning of the week, and never be able to execute those plans as the week goes on. For some reason, things just don't get done.

One ebook download and one trip to Target later and enter the workboxes.


I think what makes the system work is that there is a place to put everything I need to execute my plans. I have a large basket where I keep all the resources for the week. On Sunday I sat down with a planning grid and filled in what I wanted to put in each box, each day -- or what activities we were going to complete each day.

Now, all I have to do each evening is check the grid for the activity, grab what I need to complete the activity, and put it in the box. The next day we work through the boxes one by one. When we finish the activity, the resource goes back into the main box to be used again next time.

If we are doing an art project I can put the supplies needed in the box (I still have to be careful what I leave out with John running around). I can throw in a puzzle, CD, activity bag, game, book to read, etc.

The photo above shows our boxes for tomorrow (we have gymnastics and errands in the morning, so I planned a light day). Here is what we have planned.

  1. Reading about the baptism of Jesus from our children's Bible.
  2. Sing "Go to the Zoo" and practice the signs from our ASL sign book -- Pick Me Up.
  3. Read portions of Animal Homes (a go-along with our Before Five in a Row book for this week -- Katy No-Pocket).
  4. A page from What Your Preschooler Needs to Know Activity Book.
  5. A go-along activity with A Pair of Socks our math reader for the week.
  6. A Jazz for Kids CD -- we will sing, dance, and play instruments to a few songs.

So you see, workboxes can be used with a very relaxed style of preschooling, yet still help keep mom going in the right direction. Each of the activities will take less than ten minutes, most about five, so we are talking less than an hour of "school" with many activities being very non-schoolish.

Look for more posts coming soon about our current plans and how we are using workboxes to accomplish those plans.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Pam! Thanks for sharing about the Workboxes! We are giving it a try. Today was the first day and it went so well. H really enjoyed visually seeing progress in his work. Time will tell how he does with it. Amy